There are many misconceptions on what social media does for businesses, and how effective these implementations actually are in the larger picture. However, before we begin our analysis, we as a community must realize there is no such thing as free marketing in social media. Sure, the signups are free, but the cost kicks in when you hire someone to man those pages, and spend ad dollars on advertisements that you may have on the platform.

First and foremost, companies are always aware of their customers’ needs or wants. In most cases, businesses will do anything to ensure satisfaction for their customers as long as it fits their business strategy. When it comes to social media, the immediate question is “Do my customers actually use social media?” For some, the answer is quite obvious and may seem like a rhetorical question, but for others who are not familiar with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this may seem like a daunting prospect. Research has concluded that the average person spends about an hour on social media every day, with over one billion active users worldwide. Realistically, more than half of that population will not fall under your target category. Even so, the chances of your customers being mixed up in that concentration population is very, very likely. This holds especially true with teens and adolescents, who make up the majority of the social media community. In essence, social media is the next big thing, and you’ll miss out if you don’t hop on too!

While they may accept the fact that new and existing customers alike are on Facebook and Twitter, it is natural that businesses remain skeptical. Their next big concern is how this actually helps their business. How does creating a Facebook page help you generate revenue in any given form or way? Besides posting, generating discussions through thoughtful responses in the comments section, or sharing other content, social media can be used to advertise as well as save money. For example, by simply having a Twitter account where customers can follow you, you’re able to send out alerts on business disruptions, giveaway details, or answer questions that show up frequently on your news feed. You are not only creating connections with your community, you are growing and cultivating that community to fit your business’s values and culture.

While it’s true that starting your own social media profiles becomes tedious and an expensive investment, companies might feel it is not worth starting after looking at their competitor’s well established pages. It’s worth noting that social media is not going to disappear anytime soon, meaning this form of communication will continue to appeal to people of all ages. If you miss out on this opportunity solely because you are afraid your page will be overshadowed by someone else, you will never really get anywhere. In a way this works in your favor; you can research what works and what doesn’t on a competitor’s page, and learn from their mistakes. There is also an abundance of resources to help kick start your page and get it running in no time. Put into perspective, in one year the things that separate your page from another will no longer be based upon how established a page is, but on the culture of your community and the content you produce.

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that it cannot sell. While some may choose not to use social media as a marketing tool, there is no doubt social media can be used as a tool to profit from. For example, several companies such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and even the Dollar Shave Club have masterfully crafted ads in the form of video and posted them on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Each one of these companies impart in their videos some sort of knowledge or content that expresses the culture of their business that really resonates with people. With the help of social media, these video ads are liked by users and shared to their friends. In a matter of minutes, videos could potentially hit one million views. When Dollar Shave Club first launched its ad, their sign up website crashed in a span of twenty four hours due to too large amounts of traffic. Even so, they managed to sign up an astounding twelve thousand people in forty eight hours. If that isn’t selling, I don’t know what is! This of course doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is a very real possibility so long as your idea speaks to people on a different level than your competitors.

As you have probably guessed by now, YES IT IS WORTH THE WORK! Social media gives you a platform to interact and understand what customers want, but also what customers can offer you.